The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD), said it has perfected plans for the verification and subsequent enrolment of qualified Ex-workers of Nigerian National Shipping Line,(NNSL), Savannah Sugar Company, Aluminum Smelter Company and other privatised/defunct agencies of government as approved by the Minister of Finance.
The directorate, in a statement titled ‘Statement on status of verification and payment to ex-workers of Nigerian National Shipping Line(NNSL),’ described as misleading a statement allegedly issued by representatives of Ex-workers of NNSL in which the group alleged that the directorate, deliberately delayed their enrolment into the Defined Benefit Scheme (DBS), thereby frustrating the payment of N3 billion pension arrears owed its member
PTAD Executive Secretary, Sharon Ikeazor, while disputing the allegation, explained that the issue of enrolling pensioners of defunct/privatised agencies was part of President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s commitment towards lifting pensioners who had hitherto been neglected for over a decade, out of poverty.
“This policy saw to the enrolment of pensioners of Delta Steel Company, NICON Insurance, Nigeria Reinsurance, New Nigerian Newspapers and NITEL/MTEL, all agencies that were either privatised or liquidated by previous governments without contingency safety nets for the thousands of their hardworking Nigerian employees,” she said.
She explained further that in the case of NNSL, the approval for enrolment was received in April 2018, several months after the first set of agencies were approved.
“It is worthy of note, that the Directorate’s pre-verification exercise for pensioners is a long and painstaking inter-ministerial process that requires the collection of data and digitisation of documents.
“Most significantly, it requires getting the authentic salary structure of the agency concerned, which in the case of NNSL wasn’t an easy feat,” she added.
According to her, when PTAD eventually got a response in that regard from the Federal Ministry of Transport, representatives of the union, whom the directorate had been actively engaging with all along, declared the document incomplete saying that it didn’t include the salary structure of its seamen.
She noted that, in all, the directorate has verified and put on monthly pension payroll, a total of 16,873 pensioners of seven defunct/privatised agencies of government, adding that this does not include a total of 759 Next of Kins (NoK) of deceased pensioners of these defunct agencies that had equally been paid their departed breadwinner’s final entitlements.
She listed the agencies and number of their ex-workers paid by the directorate as NITEL/MTEL which had a total of 10,801 ex-workers included in the payment; Delta Steel Company – 3,593; NICON Insurance which had 949 ex-workers; Nigeria Reinsurance -292 of its ex workers paid; New Nigeria Newspapers had 507 ex workers paid; Nigerian Defense Academy (Civilians)- 79 ex workers paid and Federal Housing Authority – 652.
The PTAD boss therefore said contrary to the statement ascribed to certain representatives of Ex-workers of NNSL, preparation for the verification of all treasury funded parastatals, including NNSL, has been completed and the exercise would commence shortly across the country.
According to her, the program schedule would also be released by the Directorate soon.
“We therefore assure all pensioners yet to be verified that succour will soon come their way in conformity with the president’s commitment to improve the welfare of all Nigerian pensioners, especially those neglected by previous administrations” the PTAD boss said.